4 Carl von Clausewitz On War trans Michael Eliot Howard and Peter Paret

4 carl von clausewitz on war trans michael eliot

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4 Carl von Clausewitz, On War , trans. Michael Eliot Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 177. 5 Daniel J. Hughes, ed., Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1993), 130. 6 B. H. Liddell Hart, Strategy , 2nd ed. (New York: Praeger, 1967), 335; Colin S. Gray, Modern Strategy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 17. 7 J. Boone Bartholomees, Jr., ed ., U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Volume 1: Theory of War and Stretegy (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute), 15. 8 An example is the very methodical “Afghanistan Review” of the new Obama administration in early 2009. 9 For one case study in crisis decisionmaking, see the author’s “Presidential Decisionmaking and Use of Force: Case Study Grenada,” Parameters 21, no. 2 (Summer 1991): 61-72.
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Hooker 61 mind that in taking the state to war, victory becomes an end in itself. Even apart from the aims of the war, defeat can shatter or debilitate the state for years to come, possibly leading to permanent and irrevocable decline. Put another way, avoiding defeat can become the overarching aim—independent of the original strategic objective. Military leaders work hard to overcome the frustrations and unknowns of strategy through a deliberate planning process, a compre- hensive and detailed approach to problem solving that can take months and even years to complete. Seasoned commanders know that no plan survives contact with the enemy—meaning every situation is unique and will require unique solutions. But the laborious study, assessment, and analysis that goes into a detailed plan provides context, understand- ing, and much useful preparatory work, particularly in the logistical and administrative preparations needed to move large forces to remote locations and keep them there. Good planning provides a foundation from which to “flex” according to the situation at hand. Political leaders usually approach strategic problems differently. Most are lawyers or business people with substantial political careers behind them. They may lack patience with military detail, may distrust strong military types, are keen to assert civilian control, and focus more on broad objectives than on the ways and means of strategy. Naturally, past experiences and processes that have worked well in the political or business arenas are applied to military problems with quite different results. Casual observers might think that strategy-making at the highest levels is a sophisticated, deliberative process conducted by civilian and military officials who have been prepared by arduous aca - demic training informed by practical experience. All too often it isn’t. Ideally, both civilian and military leaders will forge synergistic, interactive, mutually dependent relationships. Good will and mutual respect will go far to reconcile different cultures and perspectives in the interest of teamwork and battlefield success. But the dialogue will always remain unequal. In this regard, the fashionable view that civilian
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  • Spring '19
  • Wind, Armed forces, Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Military strategy

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